OK I know he was a criminal and I know that a man died as a result of the violence used in the Great Train Robbery back in 1963. But if only the gang had not coshed the driver of the train they would surely have become folk heroes for taking so much without really hurting anyone. Anyway I thought I would mark the passing of Ronnie Biggs the most obvious way I can given that this is a music blog. Here is Ronnie from 1978 as guest vocalist for the Sex Pistols. McLaren never shied away from bad publicity did he?
Ronnie died earlier this week aged 84. He recorded a track with the Pistols while he was holed up in Brazil and they were in free fall after the departure of Johnny Rotten/ John Lydon. The B Side of the “No One Is Innocent (A Punk Prayer By Ronnie Biggs)” single was the Sid Vicious version of “My Way”. The single made it to number 7 in the UK charts.
This one will be a bit of a random post, kind of the post with absolutely no theme whatsoever. Now there’s an idea, how about a future post all about TV and movie themes? Me likes that!
First up is a great clip of Talcy Malcy’s funeral winding its way through London. Truly an entertainer to the very end. Cash from Chaos indeed (actually that sounds a bit banking industry related, only for them it was chaos from cash I suppose!) Click here to see my recent post on the death of Mr McLaren
One of the songs played at Malcolm McLaren’s funeral was Sid Vicious’ version of the Paul Anka penned Frank Sinatra classic “My Way” Check it out below
I would also like to remind you that you can still get an exclusive Steal The Smile track “Two Years On” from my recent post about this superb young band. Click here to go to that post and download the song. Trust me, you WILL NOT be disappointed! You can also click here to view some video footage of the STS boys (Henry, Johnny, Luke & Oli) hard at work and having plenty of fun in the studio. They also have another gig coming up in a couple of weeks at the FaceBar in Reading. I’ll be there, why don’t you get your arses down there too? Check out the boys playing the FaceBar from a couple of years back, with an excellent cover of Pendulum’s “Blood Sugar”
OK I said this would be random and indeed it is. Do you have any idea what John Squire off of the Stone Roses and the Seahorses has been up to lately? Well he has been doing new designs for the covers of classic Penguin books. How rock ‘n’ Roll is that? Click here to see his handiwork.
The Sunday Times has published a list of the richest young UK music stars, all under thirty. Joint top are Charlotte Church, Katherine Jenkins and Leona Lewis, all worth an alleged £11m each, followed by Katie Melua and Cheryl Cole, both worth a measly £10m each. Craig David is the highest placed man at a lowly 7th place with just a tiny £8m in the piggy bank, bo selecta indeed! I wonder if the other girls off of Girls Aloud are envious of Cheryl being worth twice as much as each of them? Click here to read more. The full list is;
1. Charlotte Church £11M
1. Katherine jenkins£11M
1. Leona Lewis £11M
4. Cheryl Cole £10M
4. Katie Melua £10M
6. Joss Stone £9M
7. Craig David £8M
8. Natasha Bedingfield £6M
9. Lily Allen £5M
9. Nadine Coyle £5M
9. Sarah Harding £5M
9. Nicola Roberts £5M
9. Kimberly Walsh £5M
9. Jamie Cullum £5M
9. Duffy £5M
9. James Morrison £5M
9. Paolo Nutini £5M
9. Amy Winehouse £5M
This is a post to mark the sad passing of Malcolm McLaren earlier today aged just 64. Rather than write thousands of words about him I thought I’d just pick a few tunes of bands he managed his own stuff. Enjoy! Goodbye Talcy Malcy. (The BBC obituary of Malcolm is very good, click here to see it)
“Jet Boy” – New York Dolls -McLaren was their manager in the early 70s for a period
“Anarchy For The UK” – Sex Pistols – Malcolm came to prominence by bringing the band together and managing them until their demise in 1978
“C30 C60 C90 Go” – Bow Wow Wow – Malcolm took over as manager of Adam and the Ants and fired Adam, he the brought in Annabella Luwin aged just 14 as the singer
“Double Dutch” – Malcolm McLaren – This song annoys many people I know, but I love it!
“Madame Butterfly” – Malcolm McLaren – I don’t like opera so why do I like this?
Hello everybody on this glorious Tuesday 17th March, well the weather is glorious where I am anyway. Firstly did everyone see the reports about Francis Rossi of Status Quo in the press last week? He finally had his hair cut short, yes he has had his pony tail chopped off. His hair had been receding considerably at the front too, so perhaps he should have done it ages ago, but at least he’s done it now. Personally I really don’t think old grey haired men with receding hair lines and pony tails is a good look. But then maybe I suffer from hair envy as I do have a head like a billiard ball and I have also been likened before to Sam the Bald Eagle from the Muppets, so what do I know! Anyway you can read the story and see the pictures in an article from the Guardian by clicking here (or should that be clicking hair?). Either way it really does have the same shocking effect as seeing Elvis getting his hair cut for the Army in 1958.
On with the usual stuff now starting with just a couple of birthdays. Firstly today is the 42nd birthday of Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins. Whilst he is younger than me we do share the same first name and hairstyle! Billy was (and presumably still is) a big baseball fan. He played for his school and whilst there he also built up a collection of baseball cards that reached 10,000. Wow that even makes my CD and comic (sorry graphic novel) collections look tame! Corgan also dated Courtney Love before she came into Kurt Cobain’s life. Corgan even shared some songwriting credits on Courtney’s band Hole’s album “Celebrity Skin”. Incidentally you should check out Courtney on MySpace, in my opinion she has a fantastic presence there and uses it really well. The Smashing Pumpkins broke up in 2000 but reformed in 2006. In the ensuing period Corgan formed the rather short lived Zwan and also released some solo material. In my opinion the Pumpkins 1997 album “Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness is one of the best albums to come out of the 90s. Check out “1979” from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness by clicking on the song title.
Today is also the 34th birthday of Justin Hawkins off of the Darkness and Hot Leg. Since the Darkness split up and before Hot Leg came to be Mr Hawkins was quite a busy boy. He issued a solo single, a cover of the Sparks song “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us”. He took part in the competition to represent the UK at the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest. I’m glad he didn’t win that, the voting is so political and territorial that the UK is unlikely ever to win it again. In the Film ‘Telstar’ which is based on the life of the late great (finally those l’s & g’s make a return!) Joe Meek, Justin will be taking on the role of the wonderful English eccentric, the late great (with a vengeance, l & g’s ra ra ra) Screaming Lord Sutch. I saw the Darkness live at the Reading Festival twice. Firstly in 2003 when they were about 4th on the bill and still relatively new, they were absolutely fantastic one of the best bands of the whole festival that year. However they went on to headline the following year and personally I don’t think that they were ready. Their second album still hadn’t been released and they tried out some of the new songs which seemed under rehearsed. In my opinion they were one of the worst Reading headliners that I have ever seen and I have been going for a long while, the fireworks at the end were the most exciting thing about their set that year. I reckon they peaked way to early. However I do feel that Justin Hawkins is immensely talented. I loved both the Darkness albums and the current Hot Leg album is pretty damned good too. Here is the Darkness classic “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” and a future Hot Leg classic “I’ve Met Jesus”
On this day in 1976 Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers appeared at New York’s CBGB’s club. The Heartbreakers were formed in 1975 when Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan quit the ‘New York Dolls’ and Richard Hell left ‘Television’. Hell left in 1976 and went on to form the Voidoids. The Heartbreakers were invited to appear on the bill of the Sex Pistols Anarchy Tour in 1976, although most of the dates were cancel thanks to the massive overreaction by much of the British press and many local councils. The invite may have come about because Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren had previously been the manager of the New York Dolls and he knew Nolan and Thunders quite well. The Heartbreakers are certainly unlikely to reform since Thunders died in 1991 and Nolan in 1992. My favourite Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers song is “Chinese Rocks” check it out and tell me what you think, to me it’s a punk classic.
The CBGBs club opened in 1973 in Manhattan and sadly closed down in 2006. The initials stood for Country, Blue Grass and Blues although strangely enough it is most associated with punk. However it’s full name was CBGBs & OMFUG the second set of initials stood for Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers. I must confess that I haven’t got the foggiest as to what Gormandizers means, do you? The final show at CBGBs was by the fabulous Patti Smith. “Elegie” was the last song ever played at CBGBs, a very sad moment indeed
And finally on this day in 1997 US singer Jermaine Stewart died of liver cancer which was believed to have been complicated by HIV/ AIDS. He had a UK number two hit in 1986 with “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off“. He also worked with Shalamar, the Temptations and Boy George amongst others, largely providing backing vocals. He provided many of the backing vocals on Culture Club’s “Colour By Numbers” album. His first big break was becoming a dancer on the iconic US TV show ‘Soul Train’
Is it that time again already? Wow here we are on 12th March just a few days away from those nasty old Ides Of March. More of the Ides in a later post….. if I can be bothered, but either way just beware of them ok? Before we get down to business the regular readers among you may recall that the last time this blog included a fart clip the viewing figures went sky high, so here’s another one! This is a fart that disrupts a Council Meeting in the US. Click here to see it and I dare you, no I double dare you not to laugh!
So onto todays delights of which there are six; three birthdays and three ‘onthisdays’
Today would have been the 92nd birthday of Leonard Chess the founder of Chess Records. The label was home to some fantastic artists including John Lee Hooker, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Jimmy Reed. Mr Chess checked out of this mortal coil of a heart attack aged just 52 in 1969. Strangely enough I won a set of eight Chess compilation albums (these were those big 12 inch plastic things we called LPs back in the day) in around 1975. I think the series was called ‘Chess Golden Decades’ or something like that. It was from a competition in the late great (hey the l’s & g’s get an outing for a publication and not a person!) Record Mirror. The winner was the person who came up with the longest list of song titles that featured colours (“Little Red Rooster”, “Tie A Yellow Ribbon” you get the idea. Remember this was way before the internet was even a twinkle in a geeks eye. My winning list comprised of more than 400 titles which was more than double the person in second place. Now that just goes to prove that I have always been a sad anorak doesn’t it? OK not exactly a Chess classic but I couldn’t resist including Chuck Berry’s only UK number one, from 1972 it’s “My Ding A Ling”
Anyway back to Mr Chess, he was born in a part of Poland that is now in fact in Belarus. He was originally called Lejzor Czyz and his family changed his name when they arrived in the US in 1928. I guess that’s a good thing really, I mean do you really think Czyz Records would have had the same impact? The label was based in Chicago and many non Chess acts also recorded at their studios, including the Rolling Stones. The Stones immortalised the Chess address with an instrumental track called “2120 South Michigan” in the mid 60’s. Maurice White who was once a session drummer at Chess Studios eventually went on to form the magnificent Earth Wind And Fire. A band I saw live at Wembley in 1979 😉 So to make up for the earlier inclusion of “My Ding A Ling” here is John Lee Hooker with “Boom Boom”
Today is also the 40th birthday of one of my all time favourite guitarists, Mr Graham Coxon who will be treading the boards as part of a reformed Blur this year. Coxon played on all of Blur’s albums up to and including 1999’s ’13’. He also designed the cover for ’13’. He only featured on one track for the following album ‘Think Tank’ after a big fall out with the rest of the band, although clearly they seem pretty much reconciled now after he appeared at this years Brits to sing a version of “This Is A Low” with Damon Albarn. Graham has also been quite a prolific solo artist having released 6 albums under his own name, three of those while still with Blur. I have seen Blur twice once with Coxon and once without I definitely think they are much better with Graham in the fold. Here is Mr Coxon with the excellent “Freakin’ Out”
Finally on the birthdays front today is the 30th birthday of someone once famously described as a ‘rock n roll fuckwit’ by Pete Townshend. Who? Why it’s Mr Pete Doherty of course. He of Libertines, Babyshambles and now solo musical fame and a fair amount of infamy too. As in ‘infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it infamy’ So many tabloid inches have been covered with celebrity prattle about Pete so I won’t dwell on that. But in my opinion he is a great songwriter, I loved the Libertines and also Babyshambles too. I am definitely looking forward to his solo album. To return to something that was covered in a previous post, that something being Janie Jones. Pete featured on a charity cover of the Clash song “Janie Jones” in 2006. Other contributors were Dirty Pretty Things, We Are Scientists, Kooks and the Holloways. The song was recorded to raised funds for ‘Strummerville’ which is a foundation for new music set up shortly after Joe Strummer’s untimely death. here is Pete with Babyshambles doing the excellent “Albion” on the BBCs ‘Later With Jools Holland’
On this day in 1981 in another monumental piece of hype from Talcy Malcy himself (that’ll be Malcolm McLaren then) Bow Wow Wow were forced to cancel the first dates of a UK tour. The reason for the cancellation was that singer Annabella Lwin aged just 15 would have been guilty of truancy according to the Greater London Council. Incidentally McLaren was the bands manager. Bow Wow Wow were formed after Malcolm began to manage the original Adam And The Ants. He sacked Mr Ant and then brought in Annabella Lwin as the singer. Adam was quite adamant (and Adam Ant) that it did him no harm in the long run though. Lwin’s birth name was Myint Myint Aye, which apparently means High High Cool in Burmese, personally I would have used that as my stage name! here they are with a live rendition of “C30, C60, C90, Go“. Note the Adams & the Ants style Burundi drum beat.
On this day in 1988 the phenomenally talented (according to some, but not me) Rick Astley was number one in the US singles chart with “Never Gonna Give You Up” . The song was also a UK number one. Following something of an internet phenomenon last year with what became known as ‘RickRolling’ he found himself voted the ‘Best Act Ever’ at the MTV Europe Music Awards. Well I suppose even that is better than a win for Robbie W (give me a break I haven’t had a dig at for ages have I?) Anyway ‘Rickrolling’ was a means of sending someone the link to a Rick video by stealth. This led to around 30 million views of Rick videos and presumably 30 million people needing therapy have been a victim of ‘Rickrolling’ The song also gave writers and producers Stock, Aitken and Waterman their fourth UK number one when it topped the UK charts in 1987. They had previously hit the top slot with Dead Or Alive, Mel & Kim and Ferry Aid. OK prepare to be Rickrolled and I promise I’ll be gentle, here is Rick with “Never Gonna Give You Up”
And finally on this day in 2001 Judy Garland’s “Over The Rainbow” was voted the ‘Song Of The Century’ in a poll published in the US. The poll was produced by the R.I.A.A and was compiled from input by musicians, critics and fans. The highest placed UK act was the Rolling Stones with “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”. The Beatles reached number 28 with “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. The top ten was;
1. “Over the Rainbow,” Judy Garland
2. “White Christmas,” Bing Crosby
3. “This Land Is Your Land,” Woody Guthrie
4. “Respect,” Aretha Franklin
5. “American Pie,” Don McLean
6. “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” Andrews Sisters
7. “West Side Story” (album), original Broadway cast
8. “Take Me out to the Ball Game,” Billy Murray
9. “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” Righteous Brothers
10. “The Entertainer,” Scott Joplin
I must say I’m somewhat surprised that the West Side Story soundtrack album made it into the top ten songs of the century, I mean it’s a whole bloody album! If you want to see the whole list just click here.
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